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Brent Jensen Plays Paul Desmond And More

Brent Jensen in the KNKX Studios.
Parker Miles Blohm
Brent Jensen in the KNKX Studios.

Alto and soprano sax player Brent Jensen says no matter which horn he plays, people often tell him he sounds like Paul Desmond. That's a high compliment indeed, but live in the KNKX studios Jensen showed he's no imitator.

You've probably heard Brent Jensen playing around the Northwest, or from his hit debut album on Seattle's Origin Records, The Sound of a Dry Martini: Remembering Paul Desmond from 2002. But he's only just recently moved to the Puget Sound region about a year ago and says he loves having access to so many amazing jazz musicians with whom he can share a stage.

Many recent albums and concerts have teamed Jensen with the wonderful Seattle pianist Bill Anschell. They just enjoy each other's musical company, he says.

Live on 88.5, Jensen brought a quartet reminiscent of Paul Desmond's bands with Jamie Findlay featured on guitar, Jeff Johnson on upright bass, and Steve Tate playing his pared-down drum kit.

Jensen talked about his switches between alto (which he played exclusively in the KNKX studios) and soprano sax, he says the smaller horn fits him better though he's determined to keep up the larger instrument as well.

Between two beautiful Paul Desmond compositions, "Wendy" and the more obscure "Embarcadero" ("That song has lyrics!" he noted, calling out singer Gail Pettis to learn them before they team up for a show in March).

Our studio audience was also treated to Jensen's song "Anne Rose" for his wife. It's a beautiful, softly swinging melody that fits well between Desmond originals, but also pointed out Jensen's sophisticated songwriting style.

Although beauty took the lead with Brent Jensen's "Pure Desmond" band, the sax solos were impressive in their power and complexity. Here's music everyone will love, and serious jazz heads can explore through many repeat listens. All of us at KNKX are excited for more repeat performances around the Northwest from Brent Jensen.

Studio Sessions Live Studio Sessions
Abe grew up in Western Washington, a third generation Seattle/Tacoma kid. It was as a student at Pacific Lutheran University that Abe landed his first job at KNKX, editing and producing audio for news stories. It was a Christmas Day shift no one else wanted that gave Abe his first on-air experience which led to overnights, then Saturday afternoons, and started hosting Evening Jazz in 1998.